Toba Tek Singh by gulzar

Toba Tek Singh poem by Gulzar summary and analysis

The poem Toba Tek Singh by famous writer Gulzar is a spiritual continuation or adaptation of the short story Toba Tek Singh(1955) by Sadat Hasan Manto. Here we have provided Toba Tek Singh poem by Gulzar summary and analysis. The poem starts with the main protagonist Bishan Singh of Toba Tek Singh. It shows the turmoil condition after the partition of 1947.


  • Based on Toba Tek Singh(1955) by Manto
  • Partition Poem
  • Free verse

Analysis of Toba Tek Singh

I’ve to go and meet Toba Tek Singh’s Bishan at Wagah
I’m told he still stands on his swollen feet
Where Manto had left him,
He still mutters:
“Opad di gud gud di moong di dal di laltain”

The speaker says that he has to go to meet Bishan Singh from Toba Tek Singh. He is the main protagonist of the short story Toba Tek Singh of Sadat Hasan Manto. The speaker knows that He can find Toba Tek Singh at Wagah because Manto had left him there.
The speaker thinks that Bishan Singh still mutters those gibberish: “Opad di gud gud di moong di dal di laltain”.

Note: Although There is no literal meaning of this line but we can say that it reflects the turmoil situation of the partition.

I’ve to locate that mad fellow
Who used to speak up from a branch high above:
“He’s god
He alone has to decide – whose village to whose side.”

Here the speaker wants to find that mad fellow who used to speak that “He’s god.
He has the power and authority to decide :
whose village to whose side.
Here political leaders are called mad who divided the lands and created this havoc situation.

When will he move down that branch
He is to be told:
“There are some more – left still
Who are being divided, made into pieces –
There are some more Partitions to be done
That Partition was only the first one.”

The speaker tells that he has to say to Bishan Singh that “There are some more – left still
Who are being divided “

The earlier partition (1947)was based on only a political map or a physical partition. There are many partitions left like Bishan Singh and other mad fellows who don’t want to come to India but are forced to leave their motherland because of their religious identities. The speaker questions the leaders who give them the authority to decide who should be moved or not from their own homeland.

I’ve to go and meet Toba Tek Singh’s Bishan at Wagah,
His friend Afzal has to be informed –
Lahna Singh, Wadhwa Singh, Bheen Amrit
Had arrived here butchered –
Their heads were looted with the luggage on the way behind.

Here the speaker says that he has to go and meet Bishan Singh and has to inform Bishan`s friend Afzal about the death of Bishan’s family members. They arrived in India but they were butchered. Their heads with luggage were also looted. This shows the extreme horror of partition. The phrase
” heads were looted” refers to the ruthless nature of people but “the luggage” refers to their greed.

Slay that “Bhuri”, none will come to claim her now.
That girl who grew one finger every twelve months,
Now shortens one phalanx each year.

“Bhuri” is the buffalo left behind by Balbir Singh. The speaker says that slays the buffalo because their owner already had been killed. There is no one left to claim her back. According to the speaker, it will be better to kill that buffalo.

Note:Phalanx means bones of hands or toes.

It’s to be told that all the mad ones haven’t yet reached their destinations
There are many on that side
And many on this.

The speaker says that there are many mad people like Bishan Singh who still not reached their destination. Some of them are on that side (Pakistan) and many on this side(India).

Toba Tek Singhís Bishan beckons me often to say:
“Opad di gud gud di moong di dal di laltain di Hindustan te Pakistan di dur fitey munh.”

In the last part of the poem Toba Tek Singh is again muttering but this time he adds “Hindustan te Pakistan di dur fitey munh. ” it simply means” Hindustan and Pakistan go to the bloody hell”.This is the extreme frustation towards leaders and administrators who can actually stop this turmoil situation.

In conclusion, we can say that Gulzar was deeply touched by the story Toba Tek Singh . He continues the story and shows us the ultimate results of partition . The poem is still considered a great poem and it is successfully carried the story of Toba Tek Singh and adds another depth to it.

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